New Delhi: The bandh called by traders against Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail sector on Thursday evoked a partial response in the capital, with some associations keeping away from the nationwide protest.
Big markets like Karol Bagh, Sadar Bazar, Kamla Nagar, Chawri Bazar, Kashmere Gate, Tilak Nagar, Rohini, Krishna Nagar and Greater Kailash M Block remained closed while Sarojini Nagar and INA markets functioned as usual.
Neighbourhood shops were also open even as the one-day protest received support from political parties like BJP and Left parties.
BJP joined the traders’ protest by organising marches and burnt the effigies of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit in at least 20 locations of the city.
Confederation of All India Traders’ (CAIT) Delhi unit president Narender Madan said a large number of traders have kept their shops shut to participate in the all-India bandh.
However, some prominent traders associations like the Sarojini Nagar Mini Market Association and INA Market Association dissociated from the CAIT call for the bandh saying the protest was uncalled for.
“We were never informed about this protest. We came to know it from newspapers. Also, we don’t fully support the view that FDI in retail is dangerous. We don’t know the benefits and ill-effects.
“If the government is taking a decision, it might have given a thought. We cannot say everything is wrong,” Ashok Randhava, president of Sarojini Nagar Mini Market Association, told the news agency.
INA Market Association president R. Bhutani said they were not taking part in the protest as they don’t feel threatened by the government decision.
When contacted, CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal dismissed such dissensions and said Delhi is a big city and here and there, some shops will remain open.
Traders down shutters in Karnataka
Large number of traders in Karnataka on Thursday downed their shutters and joined the protest against the Centre’s decision to allow 51% FDI in retail trade.
Shops were closed in major business hubs in the city.
Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI), which is leading the protest, organised dharna in front of its office here in which several traders participated.
Reports of trade bandh were also coming from various parts of the state.
Trade bandh in West Bengal
Most shops and establishments in both retail and wholesale segments in West Bengal on Thursday downed their shutters in response to an all-India strike called to protest the government’s decision to allow FDI in retail.
Most markets, including the wholesale market in Posta area of Burrabazar, the largest in the state, observed a day’s token strike.
The Confederation of West Bengal Trade Associations (CWBTA), the apex body of the most prominent trade associations of the state, having over five lakh small and medium level traders, said all sister trade bodies are supporting the bandh call.
The traders alleged that the Centre’s decision of allowing FDI in retail sector would spell disaster for small traders, in particular endangering the livelihood of millions of trading community.
Most of the political parties and trade unions have supported the day’s token strike.
Trade bandh in Bihar evokes little response
The dawn-to-dusk country-wide trade bandh called by various trade unions evoked little response in Bihar with shops in major markets remaining open.
However, many private schools remained closed as a precautionary measure in view of the bandh which has been called to protest against the Centre’s decision to allow 51% FDI in multi-brand retail.
The ruling NDA in Bihar has extended support to the bandh while Congress and LJP are opposed.
The bandh is so far peaceful, director general of police (DGP), Abhayanand, said.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar had said he would not allow 51% FDI in multi-brand retail sector in Bihar.
Bandh evokes partial response in Gujarat
The bandh evoked a partial response in Gujarat with most of the shops remaining open in the new city area here.
However, local grocery shop owners and traders in old Ahmedabad observed a total bandh to oppose the FDI policy of the Centre.
Also, around 40,000 textile merchants in Surat observed bandh fearing adverse impact on their business.
“Close to 40,000 merchants and manufacturers are observing bandh as they fear that FDI in retail sector could adversely disturb their business,” president of Federation of Surat Textile Traders Association Dev Kishan Mangani said.
“Majority of these merchant manufacturers have production capacity of 2-4 parcels of salwar suits and sarees per day (1 parcel equals 100 pcs) and have considerable presence through retail outlets,” he said.
The bandh, however, got a marginal response at the diamond market in Surat.
“It seems 50% of diamond market is supporting the call for bandh. The FDI in retail would not impact the diamond traders much,” president, Surat Diamond Association, Dinesh Navadiya said
Total shut-down of shops in Tripura
Shops in Tripura Thursday observed a total shut-down in response to the 12-hour trade bandh called to protest FDI in retail.
Official reports said not a single shop was open any where in the state.
The security has been beefed up all over the state, the police said.
The All Tripura Merchant Association and the All Tripura Grocery Association announced their support to the strike which has been called by the ‘Bharatiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal’, a national level traders’ consortium, and supported by the ruling CPI-M and the Tripura unit of BJP.
The opposition Congress has opposed the bandh.
“If foreign equity is allowed in the retail market, it would directly hit the livelihood of 22 crore small businessmen in the country which is not acceptable at all,” Tripura food and civil supplies minister Manik Dey had told reporters on Wednesday.
FDI protest in Punjab, poor response in Chandigarh, Haryana
Trading community at various places in Punjab shut down their shops, but markets in Chandigarh and Haryana largely remained open.
Druggists and crop seed selling stores were, however, open.
Apart from this, large and branded stores like Reliance Fresh, departmental stores, neighborhood shops and malls also remained open, reports pouring in from various places across Punjab said.
The bandh had a major impact in major industrial cities, including Ludhiana, Amritsar and Jalandhar where main bazaars and markets remained closed.
In Chandigarh and Haryana, including Ambala, shopkeepers largely stayed away from the bandh call and opened their shops as usual.
Traders carried out protest rallies and burnt effigies in major industrial cities like Ludhiana and Amritsar to lodge their protest against the entry of multi-national companies into country’s retail market.
The effigies were burnt separately by local ‘Beopar’ Mandal and the BJP- an alliance partner of the SAD in the Parkash Singh Badal led ministry.
Members of the trading body could also be seen requesting shopkeepers and traders to shut down their shops in the wake of all India bandh call, reports said.
“We requested shopowners and merchants not to open their stores today and they agreed to our plea. At some places shopkeepers fully supported the bandh call and did not open their shops,” Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, secretary, Mohinder Aggarwal said.
Traders claimed that they were getting full support of retailers and small shopkeepers to make the Bandh successful.
They asked the Centre to come out with a white paper on the entire FDI issue.
Protesting traders down shutters in Mah
Mumbai: Small and medium traders across Maharashtra, including Mumbai, kept their shops shut today in response to the bandh called to protest government’s decision to allow FDI in retail.
“We have received good response for the bandh in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai as traders of the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) have joined call to support the one-day bandh. Major markets of grain, fruits and vegetables, onion and potato and ‘kirana´ have observed bandh today,” Federation of Associations of Maharashtra (FAM) President Mohan Gurnani told the news agency here.
FAM is the apex body for over 750 trade, transport and small scale associations.
“The UPA government will have to withdraw its decision. We don’t want FDI in retail. A government that does not think about its people should be pulled down,” Gurnani stated.
After the bandh, we will go on a hunger strike at Shivaji Chowk on 3 December he warned.
“Traders from all over the country, including Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Kerala and other states, are strongly opposing FDI in retail. This is a question of our existence and hence there are no divisions,” he added.
The ‘Mathadis’ (workers who carry loads on their head) here have also decided to support the bandh resulting in shutdown of vegetable markets.
“We have asked farmers not to send supplies to the market,” Mathadi Kamgar Vijay Patil said.
Bandh evokes good response in Rajasthan
The All India bandh call against Union government’s decision to allow FDI in retail sector evoked a good response in Rajasthan Thursday.
All the main trade bodies and associations extended their support to the band call and most of the shops in the state capital Jaipur are closed.
Representatives of the traders’ associations and BJP workers thronged the streets to ensure no establishment is open.
Several main markets in Ajmer, Jodhpur, Alwar and other cities were also closed but a few shops were open.
Essential services and educational institutes have, however, been kept out of the bandh.
Prem Biyani, general secretary of Federation of Rajasthan Trade and Industries said in Jaipur that all the businessmen have voluntarily given support to the bandh.
He said that the decision will affect over one million traders in the state.
State BJP president Arun Chaturvedi said that different teams of the party workers have been formed to ensure a successful bandh. He said 60 teams are doing rounds in Jaipur.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made to maintain law and order in view of the bandh.
According to Jaipur police commissioner B. L . Soni, 2,000 additional police personnel have been deployed in Jaipur.
The bandh is peaceful and there is no report of any untoward incident from anywhere in the state.
In Ajmer, all markets except Dargah Bazar are closed.